Discalimer: I do not own Naruto, nor the character or setting.
Here's the SasuHana version of Age Differences, I would like to dedicate this to the remarkable Hikari Adams for converting me over to SasuHana with her outstanding stories, especially Possession. I might have a side/sequel to this if i get around to it. Well I hope you enjoy!
"How scandalous," an old woman muttered to another woman of equal age. The other lady nodded her head in agreement, her eyes closed with a look on her face as if she were all knowing, "Yes, yes I couldn't agree more."
She scrunched up her face disapprovingly, "Five years apart, kids these days," she scoffed, "and to make it worse she's still considered a minor while he's an adult! If she didn't have connections with Hokage it'd be illegal."
The old woman gossiped some more as they drank tea. A dark haired girl with pearl eyes listened intently. She felt a surge a disappointment as she eavesdropped. At the age of thirteen it really didn't seem so bad to be in love with someone five years older. The woman did have a point though, she realized, the whole town was buzzing about it.
In Konoha, the age you were no longer a minor was eighteen. The law stated an affair of an adult and a minor was strictly prohibited. She vaguely knew the girl in the said scandal; she was one of her older sister's friends and well known as an elite medic. Apparently the girl was 17 while her lover was already 22.
The reason being for the young girl's disappointment would be because of a little crush. Before she had admired this person before, thinking maybe when she was older he'd fall in love with her. Now that the entire village had looked down on Sakura Haruno, the prized apprentice of their Hokage, and Itachi Uchiha, the pride of the Uchiha clan, she had little hope of her own affair. The reason being that her crush was five years older than her.
It may sound like a ridiculous infatuation for a thirteen year-old girl to be in love with a boy of eighteen, but she wasn't like his other fangirls. Hanabi Hyuuga did not simply drool over a boy; she was well respected in the prestige Hyuuga clan and quite mature for her age. Her maturity is most likely what had drawn her to him. She admired him as a shinobi, strong and intelligent; his good looks were only a bonus.
Hanabi, with a dampened spirit, walked out of the teahouse and away from the women, not wanting to hear another word of their gossip. She proceeded back to the Hyuuga estate; maybe something there would entertain her. As she entered the house she saw her older cousin Neji and his wife Ten-Ten. Neji had become leader of their clan when Hinata declined and declared she was going to marry Naruto. That had required the former branch member to marry and he chose the girl on his genin team that already loved him.
"Hello Hanabi-chan," Ten-Ten greeted with a warm smile. Hanabi really liked Ten-Ten; she was kind and helped her with weapon training. Her skills of weapons was one of the main reasons the Hyuuga clan accepted her, the others being she was a good person that would help lead the clan and that Neji wouldn't take no for an answer. Since Ten-Ten practically had Neji on a leash, Hanabi also liked her.
"Hello, have you seen Hinata-neesan?" she asked the older girl.
"Ah, I think she's resting. She seems weak from 'that' you know?" she said 'that' scornfully. Then she recovered, "I think its okay to see her and all, I know a medic was supposed to come." She pondered.
Hanabi nodded, "Thanks Ten-san," she said using the nickname she had given her. The young girl walked down the corridors and eventually got to her sister's room. Quietly she opened the door in case of her sister sleeping. She needed her rest; Hanabi remembered what had put her in this weakened state and cursed her father.
Luckily Hinata wasn't asleep. She was sitting upright in her futon, wearing a sleeping robe. The window was open so she could view the nice day and she was talking to the medic before she turned to greet her younger sister.
"What brings you here, imouto-chan?" She said softly. Her voice was quiet and weak.
The young Hyuuga looked at her sister sympathetically and too a seat next to her on the blue futon. Her posture was perfect, back straight and legs folded under her with small hands in her lap, unlike Hinata's, which was slouched over and barely holding up. Hanabi could tell it was taking all of her effort to sit up at all.
"I came to visit," Hanabi said in a concerned tone, "you seem worse today. How are you feeling?"
"Actually, Hinata-chan is doing even better today, she's a little tired from today's exorcises," chimed in the medic she had failed to notice. She had been so concerned with her weakened sister that she was oblivious to everything and everyone in the room.
Hinata smiled and nodded in response, "Yes, I'm doing well today; you don't need to worry about me Hanabi-chan."
How was she able to not worry? Hinata was so kind that she didn't even complain in this state. It was hard to tell if she was in pain because she hid it not wanting to be a burden. She was always concerned about her sister's welfare. She had to be, otherwise how would they tell when she was in pain or sadness?
Momentarily she was distracted from her sister with the medic talking to the other girl. The medic seemed familiar; pink hair, green eyes, connection to her sister, why didn't she realize who this was earlier. It was no other than Sakura Haruno treating her sister. It was only expected that the Hyuuga clan hire Konoha's best medic to tend to their former heir.
"Ah, I almost forgot, Naruto said he wanted to visit today," Sakura said briefly. Hinata's expression brightened at the news of her fiancé.
The knuckle headed ninja still cause the former heiress to blush and stutter. It had gotten much better of course, but it still happens on a daily basis. It was rather cute watching the two, and Hanabi was extremely happy for her sister.
Noticing this, the medic looked at her worriedly, "Just don't over exert yourself; I know how that baka affects you." She shook her head and smiled.
"I know Sakura-chan, I'll be good, I promise," the happy girl softly spoke. She turned to Hanabi, who had been quiet, thinking about the ladies in the tea-house.
"Are you okay Hanabi?"
She blinked and looked at Hinata intensely, then at her own lap. It was a mystery to the girl how her sister could be this joyful after what they had done to her. A feeling of regret passed over her for not trying harder to stop the clan. Hinata's skin was so pale now that it made her look even sicklier than she was. Her voice was weak along with the rest of her body. It was horrible this had happened to sweet, shy, Hinata. And like the chuunin exams she's able to pull through confidently.
"Are you really okay with this?" Hanabi said in a dark, soft voice. Hinata looked at her curiously with pure intentions of knowing. The younger girl lifted her head and silver-white eyes stared at her fiercely.
"How can you be okay with this? They caused you so much suffering for even more suffering," she said loudly, then in a softer tone continue, "you might never be able to have a family with Naruto, who you've yearned for, for so long."
The emotions Hanabi felt were overwhelming her. All the guilt and sadness was finally overflowing. Sadness and pity were there when she looked at her weakened sister and then followed anger for her clan. She had to let these feelings out; she was only a troubled 13 year old that doesn't know how to handle them.
"Oh, Hanabi-chan," Hinata soothed and even in her tired state hugged her now shaking sister and held her, "I'm fine with it, it's a sacrifice I had to make in order for me to be with the man I love."
Sakura, who was watching the scene before, came over to the two, "She's technically still able to have children," she explained and Hanabi gazed up at her, "the chances are lower but it's still possible."
"That's good," Hanabi said a little relieved. It still wasn't enough to take all of the guilt away though.
"You do extreme things to be with the person you love, just like Hinata's done," Sakura explained further, "and in order for her to be with Naruto she had to get that technique performed."
The technique created by her clan was the whole cause of this. If it wasn't for their pride this wouldn't have happened, the dark haired girl thought wiping her eyes.
What had happened to Hinata was horrible. The only reason they allowed the marriage between her and Naruto was because he was soon to become Hokage, the day they married in fact. Since she was marrying out of the clan, they could not allow the Byakuugan to be passed down to anyone outside the Hyuuga clan.
Their solution? Get rid of the genes that passed down their bloodline. They had developed a technique used on Hinata to make it to where her children could not have Byakuugan eyes. It had put extreme stress on her body and decreased the chances of her having children greatly.
A frightening thought occurred to Hanabi, what if the same thing happened to her? Her love was outside the Hyuuga clan and since she wasn't the heir, she would be marrying out of it.
"Come, Hanabi-san, Hinata-chan needs her rest," Sakura said as they saw Hinata close her eyes and lay down from exhaustion. Hanabi nodded and followed the rosette out of the room. Before she left, she faced Sakura.
"S-Sakura-san," she asked in a shaky voice, "will that be what happens to me, if I marry someone outside of the clan?"
Sakura furrowed her eyebrows in thought, "It depends, and a lot of it is up to your clan, but if the bloodline were naturally not going to be passed down then no."
"How can it naturally not be passed down?" the worried girl asked.
"The Byakuugan is a very dominant gene, but if there were another bloodline to overrule it than it'd work." She then paused and looked at her curiously, "Your father would want you to marry within the clan though right? Or is it you have your sights set on someone else?" she asked slyly with a small smile.
She blushed and timidly asked her next question, knowing it would give it all away. Maybe it was okay to tell her though because she was in the same position.
"Would that apply to the Sharingan?"
For moment Sakura was puzzled, but then her eyes widened, "Hanabi, are you interested in an Uchiha?" she said slowly realizing why she came to her.
The blushing girl nodded shyly, "Yes, um, could we talk somewhere more comfortable? If that's okay with you, I mean."
"Of course," the older girl nodded. She led her to her room and they walked through the hallways in silence. Her room was the same as Hinata's save the personal items scattered around. They sat down on the floor and Hanabi waited for her to continue.
"Which Uchiha is it, if you don't mind me asking," the medic asked politely.
Hesitantly she mumbled out, "Sasuke"
The look on Sakura's face was genuinely surprised. She had not known Hanabi had known of the younger Uchiha besides with her sister's friends. Although, he was very popular with the women, she reasoned.
"Well, I certainly didn't expect this, but yes since the Sharingan is an advanced form of Byakuugan, it would overrule it," Sakura explained. Hanabi felt a surge of relief flow through her, but soon realized her original problem. Again her heart sank and her expression fell.
"I guess it wouldn't matter though, he'd never marry me anyways," she sulked.
She soon realized what her problem was. After all, she had gone through the same thing. Sakura comfortingly placed her hand on the other girl's, "It's the age your worried about? You've come to the right person then, with what has been going around with the village and all."
"How are you and Itachi able to do it? You two love each other, but its illegal right?" Hanabi asked remembering the women gossiping. Surely, she wouldn't be able to stand for that kind treatment; she wondered how Sakura was able to do it all. She felt a twinge of admiration for the older girl.
Surprisingly her response was a laugh. Sakura was laughing for a reason unknown to her. Eventually she stopped and smiled at her, "Apparently people forgot I turned 18 a month ago. Even though if we had been caught any sooner it would have been a problem."
Wide eyed she looked at the smiling girl, "And Itachi doesn't care?"
Sakura shook her head, "Nope, we started dating when I was fifteen; we just kept it a secret." Her voice was quieter this time she spoke, "Even if it is legal, people think down on the five years difference, it's really not that much, but people tend to go back to old traditions."
Hanabi listened and thought about what she had said. It was hard for them, but they were making a sacrifice for their love, and that's what makes their bond stronger. If she and Sasuke do somehow end up together, the same thing would happen. The question is would she be able to bare it?
"Don't give up though Hanabi, Sasuke's a good friend of mine, and from what I can tell he would like a girl like you, strong and determined," she reassured her. There was no way to say it would actually happen but it gave her a spark of hope to hold on to.
She smiled and her pearl eyes seemed to shine, "Thank you Sakura-san, I really appreciate this."
In return Sakura smiled as well and got up, "Anytime, but just make sure whatever obstacles you may face, don't give up, 'kay?"
With the smile still placed on her mouth she nodded, "Yes, I won't give up!"
They were interrupted as a maid came in and bowed. "Hyuuga-sama, Haruno-sama, there are guest requesting your presence."
Hanabi blinked in surprise, "Okay, we'll be right there, thank you."
She was offered a hand and Sakura helped her up. The girls left the room and went to where their guests were waiting for them. There standing at the entrance to the Hyuuga estate was Naruto who was anxiously waiting to visit Hinata, Itachi, and to Hanabi's surprise Sasuke.
Immediately Naruto followed the maid back into the house. He was extremely eager to visit his beloved Hinata. Out of everyone he was the one that showed his worry for her the most, and he had expressed it to where everyone had known. Before he took off, he gave a slight wave to the girls. They waved back in response, but by the time they could lift a finger he was gone.
The happy med-nin then walked straight over to her lover that was standing there impassively. Hanabi suspected he was most likely there to pick Sakura up. Her theory was confirmed when his eyes softened. Still that did not explain his younger brother's presence. He was most likely there accompanying Itachi, but she didn't know for sure. No matter the reason, a familiar feeling swelled up in the young Hyuuga's belly.
Turning around, Sakura looked to Hanabi knowingly. This is a way almost frightened the girl. Even more so when she then turned to Sasuke with the same expression. In response he raised a brow expectedly at her for a reason, it would seem that he was used to her behavior from the many years of being teammates.
"Sasuke-kun, I had promised Hanabi that I would help her with some tai-jutsu and weaponry," only Hanabi knew this was a lie, but she continued to listen curiously to see what the older girl was planning.
"Unfortunately me and Itachi have to go over some things," at this point Itachi was about to inquire when Sakura discreetly nudged him without any notice, "so do you think you could help with that? I mean you are better at tai-jutsu than me."
It was now completely obvious to Hanabi what that look meant. She made a mental note to run away if that look ever appeared on the kunoichi's face again. No doubt she was in trouble now. As she tried to contain the heat rising to her face, she stole a glance at Sasuke. He gave her a quick look and then turned back to Sakura. Anxiously Hanabi waited for what he would say. On one hand she really wanted him to say yes. On the other, she was screaming inside no. She was certain she'd make a fool of herself.
"I suppose I could, I'm not busy," he said nonchalantly. Then facing the embarrassed girl, completely oblivious to her inner turmoil he said, "As long as it's okay with Hanabi-san."
All eyes were on her. Is this what Hinata had described when Naruto had talked to her and wanted to faint? She felt like she would turn into her sister any moment and blush madly then faint. Luckily, she was in control of her senses more and held it all in. Still in the inside, she was panicking.
Before she looked like a moron standing there she answered back, "S-sure, that's fine with me," she said trying her best to keep cool and cursing herself at the same time for stuttering. Mentally she slapped herself; he must think she was an idiot now! Why had she said yes? Why couldn't she have made up some halfway believable excuse? And why did Sakura have to be a matchmaker all the sudden?
"Thanks Sasuke! And I'm sorry I had to bail on you Hanabi!" Sakura said smiling, obviously pleased with her results. She was quite devious when she wanted to be. And she also was happy that the same technique had worked on both the Hyuuga sisters. Yes, Sakura had been the one, with the help of Ten-Ten and Ino, to set Naruto and Hinata up. The same exact way she had just done with Hanabi. Obviously Naruto had needed a little, or in reality big, amount of help realizing the shy girl's feelings.
The contented girl then latched herself onto Itachi and started to depart with a wave. Hanabi could see Itachi giving her a questioning glance and in reply she said something the Hyuuga couldn't distinguish from her position. It finally dawned on her that she was just standing there looking at nothing while the younger of the Uchiha's was right next to her. She almost squeaked in embarrassment, realizing that her crush was that close to her but being ignored.
Sasuke broke the awkward silence that had formed, "Shall we start training?" he asked coolly.
Red-faced once again she nodded furiously, "Yes!"
Hanabi raised her arm to block from a high kick sent to her. She tried to hold the attacking arm in place while she attempted to knee the person in the stomach. Unfortunately for her, her leg was caught by her opponent and she was twisted around, falling to the roughly ground. Panting, she laid there with the other person standing over her. She was scratched up; many spots showed where there'd be bruises left.
"You're improving," her opponent said; a hand reached down and she looked at it for a moment before placing her own in his, letting him pull her up, "but still your form needs work."
The beaten girl nodded at the dark haired man. Anything he had to say she'd listen, she wanted to improve. He was a very good trainer, and she admired him for that. Before she had a simple crush, but over the months, almost a year in fact, they had trained together she had developed a stronger feeling. Now she not only knew he was an excellent shinobi, but was kind and helpful. She had only fallen harder.
She liked the fact he now considered her at least a friend. After all, relationships build up from friendship. He would often ask her to train with him, be it to help improve her skills or he wanted a strong opponent to spar. It was also the bond they had developed, to where they could have a pleasant conversation while taking a break. When she was with him, she didn't feel like she was five years younger, he treated her just the same.
Still, as much as she enjoyed the training to improve her fighting, she still had feelings for him, which would sometimes cause a one-sided-awkwardness on her part. Recently she had thoughts of asking him out, discreetly of course. But every time she chickened out in fear of rejection.
Looking at Sasuke's face she saw he was staring off into space. There were beads of sweat running down his face, a sign she was a formidable sparring partner. He seemed so calm and at peace. She loved his eyes, dark charcoal pools looking forward. Then those very same eyes turned to her.
"Hey, Hanabi," he had stopped using formality a while ago since they had gotten closer, "Itachi and Sakura invited me to dinner tomorrow night. Would you want to come with me?" he asked casually.
Immediately she was blushing, but after lots of practice, toned it down. "Sure, I mean what is it for, I wouldn't want to intrude," she said politely. Manners were very important in the Hyuuga clan.
"Hn, they invited family and friends so I think they're announcing their engagement most likely. Besides I need a date to bring," he said. After that he mumbled something that sounded similar to, "Sakura", "threatening", "no date".
Hanabi couldn't believe it; he was asking her to be his date! Well, it was probably bringing a friend as a date to an important event but she was still content he had asked her. That had proved how close she and Sasuke were getting, and she was extremely excited.
"Okay, I'll come," she smiled, "I'm happy for Sakura-neechan and Itachi-san; it'd be wonderful if they were engaged." He nodded in agreement.
Overtime, Sakura had become a good friend to Hanabi. Almost as a second older sister. Countless times she had tried to set her and Sasuke up, much to Hanabi's embarrassment. At other times she was nice to talk to. She still encouraged her to pursue her feelings for the younger Uchiha. It was nice that Sakura and Itachi might get married soon, the Hyuuga thought; they deserve happiness after what had happened months back.
"It's around six, so I'll come pick you up," he said and shoved his hands in his pockets. He turned his oddly hair-styled head and began to leave. Raising one hand in the air, not looking back, he said a simple goodbye. It was just so Sasuke.
Hanabi stood there slightly flushed with a dazed look. She looked down at the grass and grinned. It then came to her she had to tell Sakura and her sister, who had found her crush adorable, right away! With that she set off back to the Hyuuga estate happy as could be. Soon enough, she thought, the rosette would be teasing her about becoming sisters-in-law. But she didn't mind, she was just happy that Sasuke was acknowledging her.
Because you never know if a little crush will turn into true love.